Staying Professionally Active When Unemployed

February 20, 2017

Networking, Support Systems

How does one stay current when not working in a world that evolves at such a rapid pace? Whether you are actively seeking work at this time or not, it is vitally important to stay updated in your field, even if you don’t plan to return to work right away. For some people, when the structure of working is no longer present, it is far too easy to indulge in non-work related activities. Here are some suggestions for staying professional active.

Participate on LinkedIn

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Image from Pexels

LinkedIn is not just beneficial for those actively working. Be engaged on this professional networking site as if you are still employed. Before beginning to participate, it is important to state clearly in your profile if you are seeking work. If so, make this clear the moment someone views your profile either in the “Professional Headline” or “Summary” section.

Next, join a variety of LinkedIn Groups related to your profession. The “Groups” feature under the “Interests” pull down menu enables you to find/join groups of interest and then read and respond to posts from others in your field. I also suggest writing your own articles when time allows to further demonstrate your expertise on various topics within your profession.

Volunteer!

Remain visible to your colleagues. Volunteer regularly in a role that allows you to keep at least somewhat current in your field or volunteer from time to time at professional events. Volunteering allows you to not only network but also learn about the latest advances going on in your industry. Keeping your brain active by absorbing professional information will reduce your chances of becoming rusty and will also increase confidence. Professional conferences, seminars, and lectures often need volunteers to check people in, usher and set up. Get in contact with the coordinator of the event and ask about volunteer opportunities. Having a conspicuous role at an event gives you recognition and visibility that makes starting conversations much easier.

Network, Network, Network

Stay in touch with former professors, employers, co-workers and colleagues. Shoot for a combination of networking both in person and online. Although networking can feel like a lot of work, it is essential to keep in touch with a variety of people to reduce the likelihood of becoming “out of touch” in your field. It also could prevent you from becoming depressed. Depression is more likely to surface when people become isolated. These contacts may encourage you if you are discouraged about a job search, or may help you learn of job opportunities.

Get a Mentor

You will find most people are excited to mentor another, not to mention it is quite a compliment to receive such a request. It can be a huge advantage to a job seeker to have an “in” – someone with a professional network that you can benefit from and skills you can learn. Your mentor can help you stay focused on important things that will help you both while out of work and once you return to work. To find a mentor, consider professionals you look up to and aspire to be like. You can ask someone you know or someone you simply know of that may not have had the opportunity to meet you yet. Think of ways you can be of support and assistance to this mentor so that it doesn’t seem like a one-sided relationship.

Once you’ve built a foundation with a potential mentor, ask them if they’d be open to officially mentor you. Be transparent with your expectations and establish clear parameters such as frequency and method of communications, topics of discussion, and objectives.

Read Industry Books/Journals

andrea-book-wheel

Image from Pixabay

While professional blog posts are helpful to read, they often are too short in length and depth to provide enough information to keep you current. Since books/journals are longer and more in-depth, you can harvest a more comprehensive understanding of topics. Consider tweeting and blogging about current publications you’re reading. This may help you rekindle or form new relationships with others in your field.

If you live in a large city, you can access research journals and trade magazines at your local library.  Libraries in smaller areas may also maintain some of these subscriptions. You also may be able to access the libraries of local colleges and universities, particularly if you are an alumnus. Look for many of these resources to be available online.

All of these strategies are designed to keep you current and relevant in your field and make your return to work faster and easier. A Little Secret: Unemployed professionals that keep up on trends and updates in their field are sometimes more current than those employed. Employed professionals often don’t have the time to research new information and welcome your news and views as resourceful.

With a bit of extra work, by undergoing some of the above suggestions, you will better position yourself to re-enter your profession when the time comes.

 

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Andrea Killion, MS, LPC, NCC
Careerful Counseling Services
503-997-9506 | akillion@careerful.com | www.careerful.com

Andrea assists clients in successfully achieving rewarding employment. She works with a diverse array of adults from all industries, backgrounds and stages. Whether you are searching for a meaningful career, trying to gain job offers in a shorter period of time, or unsure whether to stay in your current position, contact Andrea for assistance with these issues and more.

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